Japanese Grammar – How to Express Want

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Japanese Grammar: Expressing Desire in Japanese – Review Notes

Today we learned how to express desires and wants in Japanese using ほしい (hoshii) and ほしがっています (hoshigatteimasu). In this review, we will go over what we learned in today’s grammar video (◕ω◕)♪

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Two ways to Express Desire in Japanese

★ There are two ways to express desire in Japanese!

★ The way that we are going to learn today
(I want ___)
is used only with nouns!

★ It is used when the thing you desire is an object and not an action.

★ When you want to say that you want something (object/noun) you can use the word ほしい (hoshii)

★ In English, want is a verb. However, in Japanese, the word for want (ほしい – hoshii) is an adjective.

★ Because ほしい (hoshii) is an adjective and not a verb, the object of the sentence is marked by が (ga) and not を (o).

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Examples:

新しい車がほしいです。

Atarashii kuruma ga hoshii desu.

I want a new car.

あの本がほしいです。

Ano hon ga hoshii desu.

I want that book.

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Talking About Other People’s Desires

★ In Japanese, if you want to express someone else’s desire, you can’t use ほしい (hoshii).

★ Instead, you have to use ほしがっている (hoshigatteiru) or the more formal version ほしがっています (hoshigatteimasu).

★ The reason is because only oneself can ever really know what he/she really wants. Adding -gatteiru adds a layer of uncertainty and is therefore used when talking about someone else’s wants.

★ When expressing other’s desires using ほしがっています you should use the particle を (o) instead of が (ga).

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Examples:

 えみさんは新しい車をほしがっています。

Emi san wa atarashii kuruma o hoshigatteimasu.

Emi wants a new car.

ケンさんはその本をほしがっています。

Ken san wa sono hon o hoshigatteimasu.

Ken wants that book.

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☆Additional Example Sentences☆

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猫がほしいです。

Neko ga hoshii desu.

I want a cat.

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私の弟は猫をほしがっています。

Watashi no otōto wa neko o hoshigatteimasu.

My little brother wants a cat.

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誕生日に新しいパソコンがほしいです。

Tanjōbi ni atarashii pasokon ga hoshii desu.

I want a new computer for my birthday.

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お父さんは新しいパソコンをほしがっています。

Otōsan wa atarashii pasokon o hoshigatteimasu.

Dad wants a new computer.

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Conclusion:

Today we learned how to express desire for objects in Japanese!

Click here to see our next grammar lesson: how to say you want to do something in Japanese! (◕ω◕)♪

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Get Japanese dictionary!

Do you want to know a lot of Japanese words? I recommend you to get a dictionary!

If you have dictionary, you can always look up new Japanese words\(◕ω◕)/♥

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15 comments

  1. I have a question.
    Watashi wa atarashii to murasaki no ano kuruma ga hoshii desu. I want to say: I want that new and green car. Is it correct? Thank you!

    Comment by Natalia on 04/21/2013 at 4:51 pm
  2. You can say: 私はあの新しい紫の車が欲しいです。(Watashi wa ano atarashii murasaki no kuruma ga hoshii desu). (◕ω◕)♪

    Comment by PuniPuni on 04/21/2013 at 8:53 pm
  3. I am sorry!. Purple car.

    Comment by Natalia on 04/21/2013 at 4:53 pm
  4. Hi
    Im curious how to express that i want to ”do” something. I mean how to say, for an instance> I want to read a book.
    She wants to travel. and so on
    :>

    Comment by Kamirun on 04/24/2013 at 3:11 pm
  5. はい!That’s a very good question! Actually, we are planning to make our next grammar video on that! We are going to release it soon, so please come back in a couple of days! \(◕ω◕)/☆

    Comment by PuniPuni on 04/24/2013 at 10:05 pm
  6. hi, i have a question or two.

    How do you change this sentence you have given above ケンさんはその本をほしがっています。(Ken san wa sono hon o hoshigatteimasu.) to become “Ken does not want that book.

    Is it “Ken san wa sono hon o hoshigatteimasen?”

    Please help. Thank you. どうもありがとうございました.

    Comment by Keen Learner on 09/11/2013 at 12:13 am
  7. Yes! You are right. It is “Ken san wa sono hon o hoshigatteimasen.” (◕ω◕)♪

    Comment by PuniPuni on 09/12/2013 at 6:15 am
  8. oh another question.

    How do you say “I don’t want a new car.”

    Watashi wa atarashii kuruma ga hoshii?????”

    Thanks again.

    Comment by Keen Learner on 09/11/2013 at 12:15 am
  9. “I don’t want a new car” is “watashi wa atarashii kuruma ga hoshikuarimasen” or “watashi wa atarashii kuruma ga hoshikunai desu.” So, hoshii changes to hoshikuarimasen or hoshikunai desu. (◕ω<)b☆

    Comment by PuniPuni on 09/12/2013 at 6:14 am
  10. Hi!!! I really love japanese language and japanese and asian music and this website is helping me a lot! Arigatou~
    I have a question…there’s a verb in japanese that means i want which is motomeru…
    What is the difference?
    And i found in the songs this word which is often used “mama” that doesn’t mean mother and i don’t know how translate it…
    Please answer me!!
    Arigatou!!

    Comment by JapanTokyoLover on 10/24/2013 at 4:05 am
  11. Motomeru can mean “to want” or “to wish for” but it is also kind of like “to seek” or “to search for” “to pursue.” Hoshii just means “to want.”

    Maybe you are talking about the word, まま (mama) which means “as it is” or “as one likes.” For example, そのままでいい。”(It’s) good as it is.”

    I hope that helps! \(◕ω◕)/♡

    Comment by PuniPuni on 10/25/2013 at 9:19 am
  12. Hi and thanks for your answer!!
    I have another doubt…in a japanese song there’s a line which says:
    Shizuka ni nemutte hoshii
    And someone traslated it as: I want to sleep is the silence.
    But…hoshii is used for say when you want a THING no when you want to do an action.
    It made me really confused…
    Please answer me…
    Thanks a lot!!! 🙂

    Comment by JapanTokyoLover on 11/16/2013 at 10:08 am
  13. Shizuka ni nemutte hoshii actually should translate to “I want you to sleep silently.” te-form plus hoshii is used when you want someone to do something – “I want you to ____.”

    We didn’t go over this in this lesson because we have not yet talked about te-form, but we will be doing a video on te-form soon! If you know how to make te-form, you can say “I want you to _____.” (◕ω<)☆

    Comment by PuniPuni on 11/18/2013 at 12:26 am
  14. We use hoshigatteimasu to speak about someone else, and examples given are all about the 3rd person. What about the 2nd person You? Does that work the same way?
    How to say for example : Do you want a new car?
    And for the verb form : Do you want to drink coffee?
    Thanks for your help! I love your videos!

    Comment by Gregochan on 02/22/2014 at 7:17 am
  15. Good question! (◕ω<)☆ When asking someone a question, we use "hoshii" not "hoshigatteimasu." So, you could say: 新しい車は欲しいですか? (atarashii kuruma wa hoshii desu ka?) - Do you want a new car? But if you want to ask a question with a verb (do you want to ~ ?) you can't use hoshii or hoshigatteimasu. Check out our other lesson to learn more: https://www.punipunijapan.com/tai-form/

    Comment by PuniPuni on 02/23/2014 at 2:41 am

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